A representative for the late Cheers actress Kirstie Alley has revealed the 71-year-old star had secretly battled colon cancer leading up to her death on Monday, December 5.
Speaking to People, Alley’s rep disclosed the actress had “only recently discovered” her cancer and was receiving treatment at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, before her death.
As Hollywood mourned Alley’s sudden passing, her ex-husband and Hardy Boys star, Parker Stevenson, shared a tribute to his former wife and mother of his children on social media.
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“Dear Kirstie, I am so grateful for our years together, and for the two incredibly beautiful children and now grandchildren that we have,” he wrote on Instagram.
“You will be missed. With love, Parker.”
Alley’s death was announced in a joint statement on social media by her two children, daughter Lillie Parker, and son True, in which they shared that their “incredible, fierce and loving mother” had passed away.
“To all our friends, far and wide around the world,” the statement read.
“We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered.
“She was surrounded by her closest family and fought with great strength, leaving us with a certainty of her never-ending joy of living and whatever adventures lie ahead. As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother.
“We are grateful to the incredible team of doctors and nurses at the Moffitt Cancer Center for their care.
“Our mother’s zest and passion for life, her children, grandchildren and her many animals, not to mention her eternal joy of creating, were unparalleled and leave us inspired to live life to the fullest just as she did.
“We thank you for your love and prayers and ask that you respect our privacy at this difficult time.”
Alley’s longtime friend and co-star in the Look Who’s Talking film series, John Travolta, also paid his respects to the actress on social media.
“Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had. I love you Kirstie. I know we will see each other again,” he wrote.
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In addition to starring alongside Travolta in the Look Who’s Talking films, Alley enjoyed an acting career that spanned more than three decades with appearances in film such as Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan in 1982, Village of the Damned in 1995, Deconstructing Harry in 1997, and the 1994 television film David’s Mother, for which she received her second Emmy award.
Her breakout role, and the one which she is best known for, came in 1987 when she was cast as Rebecca Howe for the NBC hit show Cheers.
She received a Golden Globe for Best Actress and an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in 1991 for her work on the series.
On November 10, 1995, Alley’s contribution to film was recognised with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.